Arlo Solar Panels are a great solution to ensure your camera batteries don’t run out of charge. The best part is that all you need to do is pick the best position for the panels and let the sunlight do all the work!
It sounds great. However, on some occasions, you might notice your solar panels aren’t charging, but why?
In this article, I’ll discuss five likely culprits behind Arlo Solar Panel not charging. I’ll also walk you through three tips that might help you fix the charging issue. So, stick around!
1 – The Camera Battery Is Dead
As simple as it might sound, a dead camera battery is a common reason behind Arlo Solar Panel’s lack of charging. You see, those solar panels won’t charge a completely dead battery. What they do instead is trickle-charge the camera battery.
For those who don’t know, trickle charging provides low amperage (electricity) to keep batteries fully charged. It reverses the effect of self-discharge.
Almost every battery, once fully charged, undergoes self-discharging. That’s where the battery loses the stored positive and negative charges, even when it’s not connected to a circuit.
A trickle charger, like Arlo Solar Panel, overcomes that self-discharging rate, keeping the battery full when put to use.
That’s why the panel can’t keep up with heavy camera usage because it drains the battery to low levels that the Arlo panel can’t recharge.
2 – Faulty Cable Connections
It’s natural for a faulty cable to cause charging issues since it connects the solar panel to the camera. So, if you’re using an old cable connection showing signs of wear and tear, chances are you’ll need to replace it. That’s especially true for cheap wires.
Even if the cable looks fine, the problem might be in the plug-in portion, such as the connection pins. In that case, detecting if the cable is faulty might be difficult.
3 – Camera Problems
A faulty camera is another reason your Arlo Solar Panel can’t charge. You can try to replace the camera’s battery with a fully charged one.
If the Arlo Solar Panel isn’t still charging the camera, there might be a problem with the charging port. At this stage, there isn’t much you can do yourself but contact support and check whether the warranty covers the faulty charging port.
The good news is that the camera problem might not be as troublesome. The Arlo Salar Panel might not be compatible with the camera. That’s especially true if you had an old camera or solar panel and switched either for a new device.
4 – Freezing Temperature
It’s no surprise that solar panels might not be as efficient in winter as in summer. That’s because, during winter, the earth’s Northern Hemisphere is farthest away from the sun. As a result, daylight hours are shorter.
However, short daylight isn’t why your Arlo Solar Panel isn’t charging. Arlo camera batteries can’t charge at a temperature of 32ºF or lower, and all for safety reasons.
Typically, batteries consist of three parts: a negatively charged electrode (anode), a positively charged electrode (cathode), and a medium where ions move, known as the electrolyte.
An electrochemical reaction causes metals, such as lithium in lithium-ion batteries, to lose electrons (negative charges). Once connected to a circuit, electrons and positive lithium ions travel to the cathode, creating electricity. The former cycle happens during battery discharging.
Now, what happens when you charge a battery?
Charging a battery reverses the discharge cycle. The problem is that, below freezing, positive lithium ions accumulate on the anode’s surface, a process known as lithium plating.
A couple of problems can arise with lithium plating. First, it reduces the battery’s capacity. Plus, it increases the resistance inside the cell. As a result, the sudden resistance creates a short circuit, which can cause a fire.
5 – Dirt and Shade
Aside from short daylight, obstructions and dirt accumulation can affect the charging efficiency of your Arlo Solar Panel.
For that reason, don’t place the panel in a shaded area with obstacles like trees or let debris accumulate on it. Otherwise, your Arlo Solar Panel will have a difficult time charging the batteries.
Here’s what to try first to fix a non-charging Arlo solar pane:
- Make sure you clean your Arlo solar panel and position it towards the sun.
- Unplug the camera cables.
- Squeeze the sides of the charging plug to remove it from the solar panel.
- Reinsert the charging plug into the solar panel. You’ll hear a clicking sound if you insert the plug properly.
- Connect the other end of the charging plug to the camera.
- Close and reopen the Arlo app to check whether the camera is charging.
You might want to try the following solutions if you tried re-plugging all the connections and even checked the Arlo app, but your panel is still not charging.
As mentioned earlier, Arlo Solar Panel won’t work on a dead battery. To get around this problem, charge the camera using a regular adaptor. Once the battery is fully charged, you can connect it to the solar panel.
Now, if the battery isn’t charging, you should replace it with a new one.
This may not apply to all Arlo Solar Panel models. However, you can try replacing the old connections as long as your panel doesn’t have a built-in power cable.
Just plug the new cable into other devices to test it. If the new cable works fine and the app still doesn’t show the camera charging, the problem might be in either of the devices.
So, why is Arlo Solar Panel not charging?
Several reasons can cause your Arlo Solar Panel not to charge your camera. For starters, your camera’s battery might be dead. Faulty cable or camera connections might also cause the panel not to power your camera.
What’s more, weather conditions, like lack of sunlight, freezing temperatures, or dirt, can stop your Arlo Solar Panel from charging.
The good news is that most of these problems are easy to counter. You might need to double-check the connections, charge the camera battery using AC, or replace it. If your panel doesn’t have a built-in cable, try to replace it.
Once you eliminate those problems, you’ll enjoy a long-term, energy-efficient charging system for your Arlo cameras!